Philly Fighting COVID Controversy


Kylie McGovern, Editor 

Vaccination Site The Philadelphia Inquirer

At the beginning of January 2021, Andrei Doroshin, a recent Drexel University graduate, began pioneering a vaccine center in Philadelphia and called it Philly Fighting COVID (PFC). Its website reads, “PFC opened the first mass community vaccination clinic in Philadelphia and is now the preeminent blueprint for mass clinic design and operations because it maximizes safety, efficiency, and patient privacy while administering more than 50x the daily vaccines that we administered during the H1N1 pandemic. Philly Fighting Covid (PFC) was founded in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic by a group of forward-thinking engineers and scientists who refused to stand idle…” However, this non-profit soon became a city-wide controversy.

Doroshin sent a photo via Snapchat of him taking home vaccine doses despite patients being turned away that same day. This photo circulated around to a near dozen people. 

Later, Doroshin admitted to taking home four vaccine doses for his friend and girlfriend. Soon,  Doroshin was also demanding for Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley to resign, but Mayor Jim Kenney is standing behind Farley. 

The City of Philadelphia has since severed its ties with PFC and is planning a hearing. Council President Darrell Clarke wants to require the city to sign written contracts with vaccine partners from now on. The city’s office of inspector general is meanwhile examining whether Dr. Caroline Johnson, an acting deputy in the health department, unfairly gave Doroshin’s group, and another potential applicant, budget information that was not made public. As of now, it is unclear if Doroshin will face any criminal charges, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Kraner and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro are looking into the investigation.  Shapiro said the allegations “are serious and any consumers who believe they have been misled should file a complaint with our office.” He continued, “Taking advantage of people and their privacy under the guise of serving as a nonprofit is not only unethical — it can also be against Pennsylvania law.” In addition to Doroshin taking vaccines, PFC started billing insurance companies for the vaccines, despite receiving them for free. Doroshin defended that decision as well, claiming that the donations the group was receiving were not enough to cover the costs of running the vaccination clinics. Despite the controversy, nearly 7,000 Philadelphians were vaccinated by PFC.

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